June 2, 2014

Who needs an osteologist? (False Alarm Edition)

I posted a link to the article "Skeleton may be Irish Viking king" (BBC News) to the BioAnthropology News group on Facebook the other day.  This picture caused bioarchaeologist Lesley Gregoricka and me to start a conversation about whether it should be featured on Who needs an osteologist?

Image from BBC News.

Here's our edited-for-relevance back-and-forth, which was eventually solved by the discovery of a high-res photograph at Past Horizons.

LG: Is that the ulna placed where the clavicle should be?

KK: No, that looks fine.  The scapula fragment is oriented weirdly, though, or possibly missided.

LG: Really? I could swear that's the styloid process oriented medially, with a missing proximal end (oriented laterally). The curve of the diaphysis also doesn't look particularly clavicle-like. Still, it's difficult to assess from this photo.

KK: It is a strange curve. But the ulnae in the picture look like ulnae, and I can see some clavicle-like morphology.  And I think the inferior aspect of the clavicle is superior in the picture.

LG: Ah, I only saw one ulna (L arm) but two radii (L and R), and thought perhaps the R ulna had been erroneously placed.

KK: Ohhh, yeah. Man, it's hard to see on a smartphone. Will try to find a better picture to examine in detail.  [...] Past Horizons has a better pic.  You're right about the radii, I am about the clavicle:

Image from Past Horizons.

LG: Thanks for finding that expanded image. MUCH clearer that the medial clavicle was, in fact, broken (hence my thinking the projection was the styloid process)!

So there you have it -- Who needs an osteologist? outtakes!

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